Regular jogger to Guinness world record breaker

Luigi Castelli (centre) receiving the Guinness World Record certificate. PHOTO: V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR

In the annals of sporting history, Luigi Castelli’s journey from a casual jogger to the breaker of the Guinness World Record for the longest triathlon (male) in Singapore stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of human determination.

The odyssey commenced on August 4, 2021, when the Italian, a typical jogger seeking solace in a few kilometres of running, stumbled upon an article chronicling the awe-inspiring feat of a British athlete who shattered the Guinness Book of Records for the longest triathlon in Singapore.

Design teacher Adrian Bennett, ran 1,450km, cycled 5,850km and swam 225km, amounting to slightly over 7,500km, in Singapore over189 days in 2021 to break the previous record of 6,952km.

While reading about Adrian’s deed, the seed of inspiration was planted, germinating into Luigi’s transformative journey from a leisurely jog to an exceptional long-distance runner.

In a triumph that surpassed all expectations, Luigi covered an astounding 1,863km in running, 286km in open water swimming and 7,405km in cycling – a 25% increase from the previous record. The record attempt commenced on June 18, 2023 and concluded on November 30, 2023, spanning an uninterrupted 166 days of activities, covering an overall distance of 9,555km.

Luigi Castelli with the writer V.K. Santosh Kumar. PHOTO: V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR


In comparison, an Olympic triathlon comprises a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run, for a total distance of 51.5km. According to Guinness World Records, the triathlete must adhere to this ratio: 3 per cent for swimming, 77.5 per cent for cycling and 19.5 per cent for running.

The official Guinness World Records website now proudly showcases Luigi’s updated record: Guinness World Records – Longest Triathlon in Singapore.

On May 20, 2024, the 46-year-old received the Guinness certificate of achievement from Italy’s Ambassador to Singapore Dante Brandi and Mr Roy Teo, Chief (Industry Development, Technology and Innovation) at Sport Singapore, during a function at the Italian embassy.

“In the face of uncertainty, taking that first step is crucial. It’s about having faith in your own readiness and trusting your preparation to carry you through,” said Luigi, who is originally from North Italy close to Milan and moved with his family to Singapore eight years ago. Before that, he lived in Shanghai for six years.

The preparation for the challenge spanned more than three years, with Luigi focusing on achieving comfort in each discipline while handling the daily demands of extended exercise periods.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, he would run about 8km two or three times a week to unwind and get some fresh air.


He described the training process as managing a complex equation, requiring careful planning and unwavering commitment to develop endurance for the entire triathlon. Despite initial discomfort, the Italian pushed his boundaries, transforming from an apprehensive beginner into a confident triathlete, setting the bar a level higher.

“As a European from a Mediterranean country, I am used to hot weather which is dry,” he said. “But in Singapore it is very hot and humid, and in the beginning your body needs to adapt to that.

“What I did in order to prepare for that is simply training extensively, and it took three years of training before starting the official attempt. So you need to condition your body slowly to the weather and to an increasing amount of load over time.

“When you start on the Guinness World Record, on average you have to exercise for four hours every day, seven days a week. So you need to slowly build up your stamina.”

He did most of his training at East Coast Park, where he could run, swim and cycle.


For those who want to challenge themselves and attempt a feat like Luigi’s, he says with the right preparation, a workable plan and a fiery drive from within, few things are impossible. “You will always find many excuses for not getting out of your comfort zone. But it is through challenges that we grow stronger physically and mentally,” said Luigi, who is a pre-sales engineer at telecom company Nokia.

“Chasing the Guinness record is like climbing a mountain which nobody has climbed. There are several unknowns, so you have to set your own Mount Everest. And once you find it, you want to try to conquer it, and that is what happened to me.”

Luigi also undertook a philanthropic mission, raising US$2,835 for two significant charitable initiatives. The first supports Bhandara Norgyeling Refugee Camp, a community house in Bhandara, India, extending aid to the Tibetan elderly, widows and disabled. The second backs the Italian NGO Missione Possibile, focused on providing health and education to lower-income children in Cambodia.

His next endeavour is to amplify awareness for these causes, with a fundraising goal of US$10,000. The funds raised will provide essential resources, including building facilities, facilitating education, and ensuring provisions of food and shelter. You can support these initiatives on the crowdfunding platform: Singapore World Guinness Record

To attain the fundraising target, Luigi plans to auction items used during his Guinness challenge, such as his racing bike, on his crowdfunding site. He also intends to engage with various organisations and schools, sharing insights from his Guinness journey and providing consultations for prospective Guinness participants.

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